Showing posts with label Vladimir Putin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vladimir Putin. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Word on Vladimir Putin

The EU-Moldova agreement and the soft tyranny of human rights


by Paul Wood

All over the blogosphere (dread word, as Wallace Arnold would have said) unpleasant people and perfectly nice ones are siding with Vladimir Putin as he invades a sovereign state and causes unnecessary deaths. Why? Because they see that he is opposing the EU.

Opposing the EU and political correctness, which right-wingers on the net often call 'cultural Marxism'. 

It's paradoxical that the people who blame Stalinists of the Frankfurt School for political correctness (please click on this very important link) hope that a fairly unreconstructed former KGB man will deliver them from it. But then history is full of paradoxes, ironies and black humour.

I disagree with those libertarians, who should know better, who think Mr. Putin 'is better than the scoundrels who rule us' (Dr. Sean Gabb). Mr. Putin is much, much worse - more authoritarian and less democratic than the Euro-establishment and immeasurably more corrupt. Read Ben Judah's and Masha Gassen's excellent books on him. 


From Moldova's point of view, so far the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been a good thing. Moldova has now been offered a trade agreement by the EU which would have been impossible otherwise. I hope Moldova agrees to it but one of the things Moldova has to sign up to in order to do make a very preliminary step towards integrating with the EU, which does not hold out the promise of Moldova ever joining, is to make illegal many sorts of forms of discrimination, including discrimination against homosexuals. 


This is highly controversial in Moldova (as in Ukraine) and is used by the Russians as a good stick with which to beat the EU - 'a vote for agreement with the EU is a vote for homosexual marriage'.  

Making racial discrimination illegal in the 1960s in the UK, whether you approve or not, was undoubtedly a great restriction on freedom of contract and an extension of state power. It was very unpopular and the Conservatives fought to have it apply only to companies, not to individuals. Speaking in opposition to race relations law Enoch Powell made his famous 'Rivers of Blood' speech. Later sexual discrimination also became illegal.


Margaret Thatcher, who was never a social conservative, went along with the anti-discrimination laws and QUANGOs she inherited, but in my judgement conservatives should want individuals to be able to to discriminate or not to discriminate without fear of the police. This has nothing to do with whether discrimination is or is not objectionable but is about people to being free to make their own decisions.

I remember when after some years of study I returned to work in the late 1990s I found the workplace had been transformed by draconian political correctness and feminism - and this while a Conservative administration was in office. Now employment law and law in general is even more restrictive.

I clearly remember rejoicing back then, because I care very deeply about freedom, that only sexual and racial discrimination were illegal, not discrimination on religious grounds or discrimination against homosexuals. These things, too, have subsequently been made illegal - and throughout, it appears, the EU. What is truly shocking, I discover now, is  that there is no longer any point my campaigning to change these laws, because they are embedded in EU law and cannot be changed, not at least without a decision of the whole EU. And there is no EU-wide political community to persuade our masters to make such a change, which directly opposes the ideology they believe in. There is no demos and therefore no democracy.

I hope Moldova does sign up and I also hope - but certainly do not believe - that Eastern European countries like Poland and Romania fight within the EU to get rid of these restrictions on freedom. I am pretty certain that will never happen and so I do understand why many people in Moldova want nothing to do with the EU.



The wind is blowing in the opposite direction. Rights nowadays in EU law do not mean freedoms - they means entitlements. In Romania a constitutional amendment last year to entrench the legal definition of marriage as a "union between a man and a woman" - an innocent enough thing you might think - was defeated because the Social Democrat Prime Minister Victor Ponta said it would give Romania as bad a press in Western Europe as Hungary had received by enacting a similar provision. What the amendment simply meant, of course, was that homosexual marriage could not be introduced without a referendum, so the amendment was not an illiberal or authoritarian measure but a very democratic one. Yet the Romanian government knew they would be accused of being antidemocratic if they did not quash it. 

“When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less."

Why can't every country decide for herself on whether people can marry people of their own sex and a thousand other questions, from caning in schools to capital punishment (I am opposed to both, by the way) to smoking in restaurants (it should be up to the restaurant owner to decide) and so on and so on? 

This is not a minor sideshow but the essence of what living in a democracy means.

Still, Russia is much less free and much less democratic - this is not a point of view but a fact.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

JIhadists Behead Islamic Commander by Mistake --- "Whoever Works Makes Mistakes"

(Damascus) fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant have beheaded a man with shouts of Allahu Akbar  who fought a few days earlier with them against Syria's President Assad.  As it turned out, the man was beheaded by mistake, yet I wasn't an enemy who was decapitated, but the commander of an allied Islamist brigade.
"We do not deny our mistakes and will continue to do that, because we are human. If there is a  Mujahideen leader and who doesn't  make mistakes, then he doesn't exist under the skies,"  In plain language, anyone who works makes mistakes. With these words, the Al-Qaeda warriors  are justifying the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)  as they bring the horror of war every day in Iraq and Syria in their inhumanity and horror of war.
The jihadists apologized with  a statement for the beheading, which otherwise wouldn't have happened. In their zeal, the bloodthirsty Islamists had beheaded an alleged "dog of Bashar al-Assad" . The alleged mercenaries of  the Syrian President was actually the commander of the Islamic Brigade Ahrar al-Sham . The brigade is allied with the ISIL. Fares Mohammed was beheaded. Together with the ISIL, he fought against Assad, the Alawites, Christians and all "infidels" to establish a new Islamic Caliphate. A few days ago, he called on his warriors, "to destroy enemies," and all "to seek Martyrdom for Allah". Now he has been beheaded by his own comrades by mistake. Fares was injured while fighting near Aleppo. The Islamists of the ISIL did not recognize him, and made ​​him prisoner. Without flash lights they cut off his head to the shouts of Allah Allah and death to the infidels.
Initially, as the commander of the ISIL's  head was shown as a trophy, the error was found. A beheading, showing the brutality of Islamist war, but also the chaos that reigns uninhibited in the ranks of soldiery.
Amidst this savage murder sit ten percent of Christians among the Syrians, fearing for their lives. They do not want to leave their country in which they endure for two thousand years. But their situation is deteriorating with the substantial indifference of the rest of Christendom. The hopes concerning Syria's Christians are now only from Russia's President Vladimir Putin, whom they asked to for protection.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Tempi
Trans: Tancred vekron99@hotmail.com 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Putin to Visit Pope Francis -- To Forge a New "Holy Alliance"?



(Moscow / Vatican) Russia's President Vladimir Putin will pay a visit to Pope Francis. The audience is set for Monday, the 25th of November. The meeting was strongly desired by the Russian head of state. The diplomats of the Kremlin made inquiries a few weeks ago at the Vatican to include a trip to Rome during Putin's trip to Italy, which leads him to Trieste. The wish was granted immediately by the Vatican. On the same day, the man in the Kremlin will also pay a courtesy visit to the Italian Head of State, as required by diplomatic convention. But the real destination is Pope Francis.

Putin is not just seeking a photo-op, which would immortalize him next to the head of the Catholic Church. Russia seeks to establish a new network of strategic partnerships for several years. This was exemplified with the rapprochement between the Russian Orthodox and the Catholic Church under Pope Benedict XVI., an approach that is reinforced by the reigning Patriarch of Moscow, Kirill. However, the approach involves not only the Church but also the political level. And reveals that this is not just a purely political question.

Moscow in Search of Strategic Allies

In Moscow there is a quest for similarities and potential allies for a counterweight to the United States. A power struggle under very different circumstances. It's about national interests, geopolitics, and influence. But it is also a dimly recognizable counter-model to the new Western state doctrine of relativism. At this level, Putin calls out to the West. He did this by supporting the opponents of gay marriage in France and by Russia's refusal to fall under the U.S. Cartel. In addition to a national antagonism, a new ideology has entered. A contrast that will take place globally as the different language programs broadcast by Russian television show. There are  English and a Spanish editors to supply much of the world with counter-information to Western broadcasters.

The promising contacts by Benedict XVI arose between Moscow and the Vatican, should the Kremlin so desire, will be be expanded. The opportunity to continue leading the way with Pope Francis is apparent. Putin wants to personally attend the last decisive exploratory visit on the 25th November. Syria will only be a topic of discussion to demonstrate similarities. Russia has signaled in the Middle East it is ready to take on the role of protector of the Christians, whom the West seems to be willing to give up on other interests. 

Recognized Role of Russia: Open Letter from Francis to Putin

Early September, Pope Francis signaled that Russia must play an important role with an open letter to Putin, facing the G20 summit in St. Petersburg. Specifically, it was about the Syrian conflict. This was followed by prompt cooperation in the diplomatic field between the Vatican and Russia to defuse the conflict by securing Syrian President Assad's assent to destroy chemical weapons. The fate of Christians in the Middle East will be discussed at the meeting. Pope Francis has so far avoided any gesture that could be exploited in any way in an anti-Islamic manner by the West or from Russia. Unlike the West, he avoided any mention and even praise for the "Arab spring", in whose lee the Islamists in the Middle East experienced an unexpected increase in power. But he also avoided any invitation to the old protective forces to work beyond diplomatic activities for the protection of Christians in the Orient.

A new "Holy Alliance"? - Argentine Pope is no Longer in East-West Logic of the Cold War

In Russia, there is quite an interest to forge a kind of "Holy Alliance". Moscow has set aside a lot of the old resentment against the West and its representatives. What seemed unthinkable for the Moscow Patriarch with a Polish Pope, was already possible under a German pope. Then a Pope from Argentina is definitively not in the old East-West logic in which the Catholic Church was seen as part of the North Atlantic Alliance by Russia. This is also why new opportunities of approach are seen in the East.

Opportunities that could possibly lead to long-silent and gradually prepared meeting between a pope and a patriarch of Moscow. The trail leads to Moscow on a common defense of non-negotiable values.

Papal Gesture of Goodwill for Orthodox

Pope Francis shown his hand already in several benevolent gestures toward Orthodoxy. On the return flight from Rio de Janeiro, he expressed his admiration for the Orthodox liturgy, which is to have more strongly preserved the sacred. In his Civiltà Cattolica interview, he said of the Orthodox: "From them you can learn even more the meaning of episcopal collegiality and the tradition of Synodality".

On November 12th the "Foreign Minister" of the Moscow Patriarchate, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, has already come to Rome. The occasion is the presentation of a book with contributions of the Russian philologist Sergei Averintsev (1937-2004), who was a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences as an Orthodox. Hilarion's stay in Rome, are seen also as preparatory talks proceeding the 25th of November.

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
 Image: Wikicommons
Trans: Tancred vekron99@hotmail.com

Link to Katholisches...
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